Monday, 16 March 2009

Harbingers

Spring is springing. Hurrah.

Today, on my absurdly early drive to the railway station, I saw:

A barn owl, landing dramatically on a fence post
Three hares, running around a field chasing each other
Several roe deer, standing about like the idle sods they are
Numerous pheasants
Numerous quail (I think), but possibly partridge
Primroses
Daffodils
A few scraggly snowdrops

About time too. Winter's been going on for so long that it feels like we live in Narnia.

The walk from Waterloo to Victoria was glorious, all the buildings around Parliament Square glowing in the sunshine.

There were many dazed Japanese tourists almost getting flattened by taxis as they tried to negotiare the complicated pedestrian crossings. They were all dragging those big suitcases on wheels, which made them walk as if they were leading a pack of surly dogs, the cases tipping onto one wheel and then the other as they lurched along the pavements.

In case we managed to avoid that particular hazard, they took turns stopping dead in the middle of the street to take photos of each other pointing at Big Ben.

There is a crossing on Westminster Bridge where you can dart across, against the lights, to the refuge in the middle of the road if you're quick. I did this. A couple of other commuter types did the same. The group of Japanese tourists followed suit, their cases spilling off the refuge and into the road , causing taxi drivers to swerve and shout threats. It was mildly entertaining.

Is there some central casting depot in Japan where they train these people? Adverts in the press: "Come to England and behave like every stereotypical tourist ever lampooned in a poor attempt at comedy"? If so, they are doing a fantastic job.

Other news: There is the beginning of a promising long-term feud brewing at work. I always put two spaces after a full-stop when I write, so-called "English punctuation" according to Wiki*. I was taught that was correct, and have been doing so for many many years. The rest of the office only put one space, so-called "French punctuation".

Annoyingly, the house style guide backs up the rest of the team, and not me. We are therefore all amending each others' drafts to reflect our own personal preference with every iteration. I have already conceded the removal of a semi-colon at the end of a bullet point, but I am prepared to take the full-stop spacing issue all the way to the bitter end. Unless I am overwhelmingly proved wrong by the internet**, which I trust implicitly.

This will run and run.





*which is never wrong, as any fule kno.

**see above

4 comments:

Mr Farty said...

Take two full stops into the paragraph? How last week!

Seriously, I thought that habit died out with typewriters. It all gets reformatted by html anyway, you did know that, right?

Also, I saw some tourists in Embra today; not obviously Japanese. One of them was being dragged to the edge of the pavement by her self-propelled suitcase. Laugh? I nearly peed myself.

Spencer said...

I'm with you on the two full stops issue. Death before punctuation related dishonour!

Anonymous said...

It is two spaces after a full stop, I shall back you to the bitter end and even be your second in a duel, if needs be!

I too have the joy of tourists in London.....but they generally go directly to housing and then I deliver their babies!

Middle Sis X

livesbythewoods said...

Mr F, apparently the two space thing is a hangover from using typewriters, and people who were taught to type on those rather than keyboards tend to use two spaces.

Spence, Middle Sis, I will be holding a punctuation crisis summit later in the year, you will both be invited delegates.